Thursday 23 December 2010

Macedonia gets tough with infringers, collecting societies -- and theatrical producers

Levies are to be paid to artists
for use of their copyright works
The new Law on Copyright and Related Rights for Macedonia -- the former Yugoslavian bit rather than the current Greek bit, that is -- came into force on 8 September, as part of that country's efforts to bring its IP laws in line with the rest of the European Union, which it aspires to join (Macedonia applied in 2004 and became an official candidate in 2005).

The new law, in accordance with the EU IP Enforcement Directive 2004/48, treats copyright infringement as a criminal offence [this might surprise some readers, who only view the Directive as having civil application, but recital 28 of the Preamble states "In addition to the civil and administrative measures, procedures and remedies provided for under this Directive, criminal sanctions also constitute, in appropriate cases, a means of ensuring the enforcement of intellectual property rights"]. For this crime, the law provides a prison sentence of six months to five years for natural persons, and a fine for legal entities. The court is also given the power to order copyright infringers not to continue their business activities.  According to the 1709 Blog's sources,
"The new law is more precise and more structured than the previous one. The new regulations are meant to de-monopolize copyright collectives, which guarantee more effective protection and enforcement of copyrights. So far, in practice, a single copyright collective for authors and composers of musical works had a monopoly in copyright protection [It would be good to know more about this move and to place it in the context of the European Commission's current review of collecting society practices].
The law also abolishes copyright protection for theatrical producers. This change was made in accordance with comparative practices, which showed that these copyrights are considered most abstract and are not recognized in most legal systems [We'd love to know more about this.  Can anyone enlighten us?].
The new copyright law also sets more realistic copyright levies that should be paid to artists for use of their copyright works by third parties, and it clearly lists all possible cases of free use of copyright works".
Source: "New Macedonian Copyright Law Treats Copyright Infringement as Criminal Offense", PETOŠEVIĆ, 29 November 2010

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I suspect that the term "theatrical producer" in your 12/23 Macedonian post refers to what we in the United States call the "stage director." This is a common confusion as the usage examples under theatrical "producer" in the OED make plain. If so, then Macedonia is rejecting copyright in stage direction, a position the U.S. Copyright Office came to in 2007 due to the work's lack of originality (rather than its abstractness). It is interesting that Macedonia had in the first place a law granting copyright in stage direction. This suggests that in Macedonia stage directors are seen as authors--comparable to "auteur" film directors--whereas in the U.S. and U.K. stage directors are seen as interpretive artists whose work derives from that of the playwright. Assuming this hypothesis is correct, then what we are seeing in Macedonia is the redefinition of a theatrical production process under the pressure of the international copyright system.

Oliver Gerland III
Associate Professor of Theatre
University of Colorado at Boulder